WaPo Rips Plame Film: ‘Full of Distortions’ and ‘Outright Inventions’

December 5, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

The editorial board of the Washington Post on Saturday ripped to shreds the factual authenticity of the new film about the Valerie Plame affair.

According to the Post, "'Fair Game,' based on books by [Joe] Wilson and his wife, is full of distortions - not to mention outright inventions" (h/t NBer Beresford):

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NewsBusters.org blogs

WaPo Rips Plame Film: ‘Full of Distortions’ and ‘Outright Inventions’

December 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

The editorial board of the Washington Post on Saturday ripped to shreds the factual authenticity of the new film about the Valerie Plame affair.

According to the Post, "'Fair Game,' based on books by [Joe] Wilson and his wife, is full of distortions - not to mention outright inventions" (h/t NBer Beresford):

read more

NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Deliberate Distortions Create False Sense of Urgency for Social Security Cuts

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

There is so much inaccurate information—much of it deliberately cultivated—about the solvency of Social Security, that it’ss leading policymakers, analysts and lawmakers to believe there is an urgent need to make major changes to Social Security.

Add to that a cadre of newly elected representatives and senators who back raising the retirement age, privatizing Social Security or making other cuts to the nation’s most successful social safety net program, and it becomes even more important to make sure the real picture of Social Security’s future is not distorted.

A new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) calls attention to the fact that Social Security will be fully solvent for the next 27 years and any premature action to make changes to the program will have a severe impact on millions of near retirees. Says CEPR Co-Director Dean Baker:

Misinformation about Social Security has led many to believe that Social Security is in immediate danger of insolvency but the program will be fully solvent for almost three more decades. Furthermore, even if no changes are ever made, a child born in 2010 can expect to see a benefit that is more than 50 percent larger in real terms than what current retirees receive today.

The issue brief, “Action on Social Security: The Urgent Need for Delay,” argues that proponents of strengthening Social Security should fight to delay any action on changes because:

  • There is good reason for believing the public will be better informed about the financial state of Social Security in the future, in part because of the weakening of some of the main sources of misinformation.
  • Many more people will be directly dependent on Social Security in the near future. These people and their families will likely be strong defenders of the program.
  • The group of near-retirees, who may be the victims of early action, will desperately need their Social Security since they have seen much of their wealth eliminated with the collapse of the housing bubble.
  • The concern over “maintaining the confidence of financial markets” is an empty claim that can be used to justify almost any policy.

Click here for the full report. For more information, be sure to visit Our Fiscal Security here, Retirement USA here, Strengthen Social Security…Don’t Cut It here and the Alliance for Retired Americans here.

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

Texas Board Approves Warning Textbook Makers Against ‘Pro-Islamic, Anti-Christian Distortions’

September 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Texas State Board of Education today passed a resolution warning textbook publishers to scrub their books of “gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian” bias. The vote was 7 to 6.

The board passed the nonbinding resolution after more than three hours of debate.

Proponents of the measure, including board members and witnesses, argued that world history textbooks spend too much space discussing Islam, and in too positive a light, when compared with Christianity.

One parent said she read through a section of her son’s history book and found four pages on Islam and only one reference to the Bible. Asked by a board member what the section was titled, she replied, “Life in the Eastern Hemisphere.”

One of the board’s most conservative members, Don McLeroy, who is serving the last months of his term, said textbook publishers have been biased in favor of Islam for years. He argued that “one of the greatest gifts to the world was medieval Christendom,” citing an essay he had written in 2002 titled “The Gift of Medieval Christendom to the World.”

Board rules dictate that members can’t discuss books that are currently approved for Texas public schools. Therefore, they had to limit their discussion to books either no longer in use, or hypothetical future books.

Opponents of the resolution said they agreed with the resolution’s ostensible purpose, to make sure all the major world religions were treated fairly in textbooks. But, they argued, the resolution only mentioned “pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions.”

“That’s offensive language,” said board member Lawrence Allen. “You’re trying to use one religion over another, and I don’t think that’s what we’re trying to do here.”

Opponents tried to amend the language to leave out references to Islam and Christianity. That motion failed, 6 to 7.

They also argued that the resolution itself inaccurately described information in textbooks, and moved to postpone a vote until November in order to do more research. That motion also failed.

One woman who argued in favor of the resolution cried out, “I believe Middle Easterners have bought the textbooks! They’ve bought everything else here!” She said Middle Eastern publishers should be required to proclaim their pro-Islam bias.

“I’m biased in favor of Christianity,” she said. “I’m biased in favor of America!”

Although the resolution was nonbinding, Texas school board decisions garner attention because, as one of the country’s largest markets, textbook makers have traditionally written their books, sold nationally, to the Texas standards. (Although there’s an argument that Texas no longer has so much sway.)

“Publishers are listening today,” said one conservative board member, David Bradley. “And they’re very sensitive to it.”









Islam - Board of education - Christianity - Religion and Spirituality - Texas
TPMMuckraker

Texas Board Approves Warning Textbook Makers Against ‘Pro-Islamic, Anti-Christian Distortions’

September 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Texas State Board of Education today passed a resolution warning textbook publishers to scrub their books of “gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian” bias. The vote was 7 to 6.

The board passed the nonbinding resolution after more than three hours of debate.

Proponents of the measure, including board members and witnesses, argued that world history textbooks spend too much space discussing Islam, and in too positive a light, when compared with Christianity.

One parent said she read through a section of her son’s history book and found four pages on Islam and only one reference to the Bible. Asked by a board member what the section was titled, she replied, “Life in the Eastern Hemisphere.”

One of the board’s most conservative members, Don McLeroy, who is serving the last months of his term, said textbook publishers have been biased in favor of Islam for years. He argued that “one of the greatest gifts to the world was medieval Christendom,” citing an essay he had written in 2002 titled “The Gift of Medieval Christendom to the World.”

Board rules dictate that members can’t discuss books that are currently approved for Texas public schools. Therefore, they had to limit their discussion to books either no longer in use, or hypothetical future books.

Opponents of the resolution said they agreed with the resolution’s ostensible purpose, to make sure all the major world religions were treated fairly in textbooks. But, they argued, the resolution only mentioned “pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions.”

“That’s offensive language,” said board member Lawrence Allen. “You’re trying to use one religion over another, and I don’t think that’s what we’re trying to do here.”

Opponents tried to amend the language to leave out references to Islam and Christianity. That motion failed, 6 to 7.

They also argued that the resolution itself inaccurately described information in textbooks, and moved to postpone a vote until November in order to do more research. That motion also failed.

One woman who argued in favor of the resolution cried out, “I believe Middle Easterners have bought the textbooks! They’ve bought everything else here!” She said Middle Eastern publishers should be required to proclaim their pro-Islam bias.

“I’m biased in favor of Christianity,” she said. “I’m biased in favor of America!”

Although the resolution was nonbinding, Texas school board decisions garner attention because, as one of the country’s largest markets, textbook makers have traditionally written their books, sold nationally, to the Texas standards. (Although there’s an argument that Texas no longer has so much sway.)

“Publishers are listening today,” said one conservative board member, David Bradley. “And they’re very sensitive to it.”









Islam - Board of education - Christianity - Religion and Spirituality - Texas


TPMMuckraker

Texas Board Of Ed Wants To Scrub Textbooks Of ‘Pro-Islamic, Anti-Christian Distortions’

September 16, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Texas Board of Education, whose decisions can set textbook standards for the entire country, is now trying to take on the “Muslim propaganda” in world history books.

The social conservatives on the board, who earlier this year set new standards requiring textbooks to include sections on anti-Equal Rights Amendment crusader Phyllis Schafly, the Contract with America and the Christian beliefs of the Founders, want to pass a resolution warning textbook makers not to include “gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions” in their books.

According to board member Ken Mercer, many world history books are rife with such “Muslim propaganda.”

“One of the books I reviewed has 120 lines referencing Christian beliefs, but has 248 lines referencing Muslim beliefs,” Mercer told WOAI News Radio.

A draft of the resolution obtained by the Dallas Morning News reads, in part, that “diverse reviewers have repeatedly documented gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions in social studies texts,” including “sanitized definitions of ‘jihad’ that exclude religious intolerance or military aggression against non-Muslims … which undergirds worldwide Muslim terrorism.”

This is in part due, the resolution argues, to “Middle-Easterners” infiltrating the textbook market.

“More such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly, as they are doing now,” it reads. As the Dallas Morning News pointed out, “They offered no specific evidence of such investments.”

The books the conservatives reference have also been out of Texas schools since 2003, as one Republican board member pointed out.

Because Texas has such a large public school system, the standards the state board sets have often been used by textbook manufacturers for the books they sell throughout the country. However, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in May that other states shouldn’t be concerned: “Textbook companies today have a real ability to customize textbooks.”

The board will vote on the resolution next week, when the board meets in Austin.

(H/T Think Progress)









Islam - Board of education - Religion and Spirituality - Social conservatism - Christian


TPMMuckraker

Government’s Unwelcome Economic Distortions

August 25, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

A couple of weeks ago, David Boaz discussed the Old Testament story in which the people of Israel ask Samuel for a king to rule over them. God’s instructions to Samuel can be summed up as “tell them to be careful of what you wish for.” David brought up the passage in the context of civil liberties, but the story’s lesson also applies to economic liberties.

Over the past eighty years, the public has become conditioned in times of crisis to turn to their rulers and demand that they “do something.” That the rulers had a hand in the crisis is all too often either unrecognized or it’s a secondary concern. As Robert Higgs demonstrated in his seminal book, Crisis and Leviathan, the rulers will willingly oblige the public and, in the process, come away with more power and control than they had prior to the crisis. Unfortunately, the rulers’ enhanced authority begets more crises in the future.

The latest chapter in this story is the economic downturn. Many of the “seeds” for the recession were planted by government. Regardless, the average citizen reflexively looked toward Washington to quickly fix the economy. The public’s limited patience meshes well with policymakers who are naturally inclined to operate on a short-term horizon (i.e., the next election). Therefore, policymakers responded with quick-fix measures with almost no regard to the long-term consequences.

The long-term economic problems caused by massive deficit spending and mounting debt are the most obvious. But as two stories in the news show, short-term measures implemented by policymakers to “fix” the economy have also introduced unwelcome economic distortions.

First, following the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit, home sales have fallen off the cliff. The Christian Science Monitor asks: was the homebuyer tax credit the “scam of the century?” The program was riddled with fraud, some folks who were induced to purchase a house are already underwater or are headed in that direction, and the billions of dollars spent on the program did zilch for the long-term health of the housing market.

When one looks at ultimate beneficiaries of the tax credit, it’s easy to see why the CSM calls it a “scam:”

[I]n trying to fully understand why the government undertook such a useless and poorly calculated program, it’s important to recognize those who truly walk away from this policy in better standing.

Realtors, home builders and mortgage bankers… some of the most notable culprits of the housing bubble years… all walk away cleanly skimming the proceeds coming from the transactions of an estimated 2 million temporarily stimulated home purchases.

It should come as no surprise that these were the very same industry groups that worked tirelessly lobbying to enact this failed policy… it was a simple exchange… your tax dollars to their wallets.

Second, we go from “scam of the century” to the “the dumbest program ever.” The latter is refers to the “Cash for Clunkers” program, which Chris Edwards submitted for nomination in August 2009. Chris cited numerous problems with the program, including that “Low-income families, who tend to buy used cars, were harmed because the clunkers program will push up used car prices.”

A senior editor at Edmunds.com tells a reporter from WIOD news radio in Miami that used-car prices are way up (h/t Radley Balko):

If buying a used car is among your cost-cutting measures… be prepared to pay up to 30-percent more than you did last year.

It is a simple case of supply and demand.

Trouble is … there are fewer used cars.

The cash-for-clunkers program took a bunch off the market.

Plus, Edmunds Senior Editor Bill Visnick says 5-million fewer new cars were sold last year…which pares down the used car supply even more.

As Radley sarcastically notes, you can’t blame those supposedly selfish limited government types for this one:

[W]e have a government program whose stated aim was to shore up huge, failed corporations by giving public money to mostly upper-income people that in the end will penalize low and middle-income people. But remember folks, it’s the libertarians—who opposed C4C—who are greedy corporatists who hate the poor.

There could be a silver lining in the cloud if more Americans start to realize that asking policymakers to quickly fix problems that government policies helped foster isn’t much different than asking the arsonist to put out the fire.


Cato @ Liberty

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